My first batch of lettuce, planted out on 4th April, consisted of 6 each of Little Gem, Fristina and Webbs Wonderful.
They have all done well, but the star of the show has been "Little Gem" - a smallish Cos / Romaine type.
This one is "Fristina", a lettuce that thinks it is an endive. It has crunchy ribs, but frizzy leaves. I treat it as a cut-and-come-again lettuce, picking individual leaves whenever required rather than cutting the whole lettuce in one go.
The Webbs Wonderful has been the slowest to develop. It is a huge lettuce and I don't think I gave mine enough room. Now that some of the other lettuces have been harvested, the Webbs ones will have room to develop better.They should eventually produce a densely-packed heart like "Iceberg".
I also planted a few "Delicato", a red oak-leaf variety . I tucked these in at the ends of my rows of climbing beans. The young leaves in the centres are really attractive - a deep burgundy red - but as they get older they fade to a sort of bronze colour. This lettuce has a good texture too, especially in the leaf-ribs.
In various nooks and crannies throughout my garden there are lettuces in ones and twos. This one is "Marvel of Four Seasons" - red-tinged and very crinkly.
I'm not sure what variety this one is. It is from a mixed pack. I like it though. Very attractive in a mixed salad.
Alongside the lettuces I also have some endives. I love endives even more than lettuces. They have an intriguing slightly bitter taste (though this can be reduced by blanching if you prefer). This year, I have been very short of space for growing salad crops, and I have had to squeeze them in in all sorts of odd places, like underneath the Broad Beans.
I find that endives are very sensitive to soil and weather conditions, and they bolt at the slightest excuse - like these ones! If you leave them they will grow to about four feet tall, and will produce a profusion of small blue flowers. They would actually look good in a "potager".
But this is what they are supposed to look like - short and compact. These ones are of the variety "Très Fine Maraîchère", a French variety given to me by my daughter Fiona (who lives in France).
And here's the next batch, awaiting planting out (Lettuces on the Left, Endives on the Right). In my garden the "Dead Man's Shoes" principle operates. As soon as a plant is finished, another one goes in straight away.
And this of course, is what we're aiming for... the heart of a good salad.
Finally, let me finish with one of my arty photos... Early morning sunshine on an endive leaf.